A longtime Wichita resident recently received one of the country’s most prestigious honors in martial arts.

Grace Wu-Monnat, who has taught martial arts in downtown Wichita since 1986, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award on May 5 at the Tiger Claw Elite KungFuMagazine.com competition in San Jose, Calif.

Wu-Monnat, an internationally renowned master, teacher and judge of professional Chinese Martial Arts competitions, has judged the Tiger Claw Elite competition for the past 18 years. She has critiqued kung fu, modern wushu and tai chi, as well as other styles and disciplines.

The award was presented by event organizers to recognize Wu-Monnat for her lifetime career as an international competitor and judge, as a master instructor in her own school and for her contribution to promoting the spirit and practice various styles of Chinese martial arts.

“Studying Chinese martial arts has brought physical health, mental strength, joy and better character to me,” Wu-Monnat said in a release. “Wherever I am, it is always my honor to share this treasure of Chinese culture with the world.”

Wu-Monnat is best known locally as the founder of the Grace Wu Kung Fu School, located at 122 N. St. Francis, where she has taught shaolin kung fu, tai chi and bagua to children and adults since 1986. She also works as the office manager for the law firm of Monnat & Spurrier, which her husband, Dan Monnat, co-founded in 1985.

She was born in Shanghai, China, and began training at the age of 3 with three of China’s most famous and influential martial artists: her grandfather, Gradmaster Wang Ziping, and her mother, Madame Wang Jurong, a national martial arts champion and first generation woman wushu grandmaster, and her father, Dr. Wu Cheng-de, a prominent wushu master.

Wu-Monnat earned a bachelor’s degree in Chinese Martial Arts from Shanghai Teachers University. After emigrating to the United States, she received a master’s in sports administration from Wichita State.

Full story at Kansas.com